Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions
Contact: Kimberly Soane Democratic Services Officer
To agree the Minutes of the meeting of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 7 June 2021, and published on the Council’s website.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 7 June 2021 were confirmed as a correct record of the meeting, and signed.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
To receive apologies for absence and note substitutions.
Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of Monday 13 September 2021 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Brian Edmonds. Councillor Jerry Hyman attended as a substitute.
DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS
To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government.
There were no declarations of interest concerning items on the agenda.
The Council consulted on the Pre-Submission Local Plan Part 2 (LPP2) between the 27th November and 29th January 2021. The consultation resulted in 1242 comments from 418 individual respondents.
In response to the representations the Council received on the Pre-submission version of LPP2, this report seeks comments and observations from the Overview and Scrutiny committee on the proposed recommendations to Executive and Council that:
a) the Council should carry out a further public consultation focussed on changes to the proposed housing site allocations for Haslemere in the Pre-submission version of LPP2, before it submits the plan to the Secretary of State for its examination.
b) the Council submits to the examination other changes to the Pre-submission version of LPP2 that are not subject to public consultation following the submission of the plan to the Secretary of State.
Following this pre-decision scrutiny by the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee, approval is sought from the Executive and Full Council on the 22nd September 2021 to undertake this focussed consultation.
That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee provides comments and observations to the Executive on the following recommendations:
1) That Council agrees the changes to the Pre-submission version of LPP2, set out in the Addendum attached as Annexe 1 to this report concerning the proposed housing site allocations in Haslemere and that the Council undertakes a public consultation on the Addendum for a period of 6 weeks under Regulation 19 of the Local Planning Regulations.
2) The Council agrees that the schedule of other minor changes to the pre-submission version of LPP2 that have not been the subject of public consultation, set out in Annexe 2 to this report, be submitted to the examination of LPP2.
3) The Head of Planning and Economic Development be authorised to formally request that the Local Plan Examination Inspector recommends further main modifications to LPP2, if the Inspector considers that they are necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant.
4) The Head of Planning and Economic Development be authorised to make any other minor modifications to the Pre-Submission version of LPP2 with regard to factual updates and corrections before the Plan is submitted for its examination.
It was stated by officers that the minor modifications table might return to committee again if there were further changes.
One councillor felt they didn’t have all the documents available and he requested that the addendum to both the Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) and Sustainability Appraisal (SA) be circulated to councillors in advance of Executive and Full Council on 22 September 2021. The Head of Planning agreed to do this.
The committee discussed the conclusions regarding site allocation in Haslemere where the proposal was to replace one site with another within the plan. Officers explained that there was now a site available which hadn’t previously been known to them. Some of the committee members expressed concerns that it was not on the brownfield register, outside the residential boundary and in an area of outstanding natural beauty. They felt that these factors conflicted with Waverley’s planning policies and that the site which was removed from consideration was well connected to other sites but that there had probably been pressure from residents nearby who didn’t want more housing. The Head of Planning stated that officers had been in discussions with Natural England and Surrey County Council.
Conversely, there was also a discussion of the Red Court site which had been turned down at planning committee despite being recommended for approval by officers. Whilst some councillors believed there could be another application and the decision was going to appeal, a number also believed that this was unlikely and that as a result keeping this site in the plan would undermine its credibility.
The portfolio holder stated that Waverley were allowing as many houses as they possibly could in line with the local plan.
1) The Committee asked the Executive to note the wide range of views on the wisdom of making changes to the Pre-Submission version of LPP2 set out in the Addendum attached as Annexe 1 to the report concerning the housing site allocations in Haslemere. Given that many of these were critical the Committee asks the Executive and Council to give careful consideration to these views.
2) That the Committee supports the recommendation that Council should agree the schedule of the minor changes to the pre submission version of LPP2 that have not been the subject of public consultation, set out in Annexe 2
3) That the Committee supports the recommendation that the Head of Planning and Economic Development be authorised to formally request that the Local Plan Examination Inspector recommend further main modifications to LPP2, if the inspector considers that they are necessary to make the plan sound and/or legally compliant
4) That the Committee supports the recommendation that the Head of Planning and Economic Development be authorised to make any other minor modifications to the Pre-submission version of LPP2 with regard to factual updates and corrections before the Plan is submitted for its examination.
To scrutinise a new Car Parking Strategy.
This agenda item was introduced by the Head of Environmental Services. He explained that it took forward work from a review of car parks from 2019/20. The strategy was trying to encourage short stays in the town centre and longer stays further out by commuters. There would be incentivisation for people purchasing ultra low emission vehicles in car parks using Ringo where the vehicles could be identified and users could get a 50% reduction on car parking.
Some of the committee felt the report showed gaps in local knowledge.
There was concern expressed about proposed price increases for parking in Milford. The portfolio holder present stated that they would not go ahead.
The committee also expressed concern that Ringo was expensive and some of the committee wanted to see a tap and go facility in car parks. It was stated that the reduction was not going to be made a promise so that it would not be subject to legal challenge in car parks where Ringo was not available.
Some of the committee felt that to offer a 50% reduction in parking charges for those with ultra low emission vehicles was discriminatory and reduced revenue for the council. They also felt that people who could afford new vehicles did not need the reduction. The portfolio holder felt that it was important to make a gesture regarding encouraging people to use electric vehicles.
It was clarified that electric vehicle users had to pay for the space plus the electricity used when charging their vehicle.
There was further discussion about whether you had to have an electric vehicle to park in an electric vehicle space and the Head of Environmental Services stated that you did.
The committee felt that disabled spaces needed to be near the pay stations and accessible height wise for people in wheelchairs.
The committee asked whether there were spaces for motorcycles and they were told that there were in some car parks.
The committee questioned whether so many car parking spaces were needed in the light of the climate emergency. It was also questioned whether many people were commuting if people were still working from home. Others felt that commuting was building up again.
It was pointed out by the committee that if the idea was to give a 50% reduction that wouldn’t be possible on a 80p charge as the minimum parking charge using Ringo was 50p.
The Committee asked the Executive to note the comments reflected in the minutes and that two members of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee disagreed with the suggestion in the Car Parking Strategy to offer a 50% reduction in car parking charges for electric vehicles.